Bruno Mars is African American

Controversy after the Superbowl appearance Beyoncé sings Tacheles and risks her image

By Sebastian Moll

At the Superbowl, the singer confessed to the “Black Lives Matter” movement and snubbed some with it. The 34-year-old also received a lot of recognition for her clear stance.

Santa Clara - Since the debacle over Janet Jackson's defective top at the 2004 Superbowl halftime show, the NFL Football League has been cautious in selecting the stars to appear in front of the 100 million TV audience. After “Nipplegate”, the world was presented with family-friendly acts like Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones and Tom Petty between the halves of the game for the biggest trophy in US sport.

This year, too, it was thought that the entertainment at the Levi Stadium in San Francisco would meet the consensus of the broad American mainstream. Coldplay, Bruno Mars and Beyoncé were booked - all veteran superstars of the pop industry who would certainly not do anything at this precious moment that could endanger their image and their marketability.

But the calculation didn't work out. Just like twelve years ago, the NFL earned a shit storm for its halftime show. The reason for the excitement was the performance of Beyoncé (34), which is actually considered the best stage act in the pop industry. The dance numbers for their R-’n’-B super hits like “Crazy in Love” or “Single Ladies” are professional, exciting, brilliantly choreographed and sexy. But usually there is nothing in it that could snub a mass audience at an arena performance.

For many an intolerable provocation

But like Janet Jackson, Beyoncé laid an egg in the nest of the NFL this year, which caused it significant discomfort. The performance for the single "Formation", which she released on Youtube and Twitter just one day before the Superbowl, was an intolerable provocation for many viewers, including some very weighty and prominent ones.

The stumbling block was the martial appearance of Beyoncé and her female dance troupe, which alluded to the militant civil rights group of the sixties, the "Black Panthers". To enhance the effect, the dancers painted an X on the artificial turf - a homage to Malcolm X, who at the time served as the Panthers icon and who did not rule out the use of force in the fight for black civil rights.

It all had only a little to do with the lyrics of Beyoncé's song. The song is nothing more than Beyoncé's commitment to her black identity. "I like my negro nose with Jackson Five Nostrils" ("I like my negro nose with the nostrils like that of the Jackson Five"), she sings about. Unlike her declared role model Michael Jackson, Beyoncé suggests, even as a superstar she will not deny that she is African-American.

Commitment to Beyoncé's roots

The “Black Pride” theme is underlined by a commitment to its roots in the streets of the American ghetto. She sings she is "Bamma", a synonym for poor African Americans from the south. She eats collared greens and cornbread - the main dishes of the American South and after good sex she takes her lover to “Red Lobster” - a fast food chain that is typical of ghetto life.

None of this should actually be threatening for white America, unless you still feel threatened in 2016 by a pop star who professes his black identity. But the arena performance, as well as the hotly debated video for the song, combine the message with an undisguised expression of solidarity with the goals and concerns of the “Black Lives Matter” movement.

In the video, which takes place in New Orleans in the post-Hurricane Katrina era, there are clear allusions to the systematic police violence against blacks against which the "Black Lives Matter" movement is organized. And of course the topic of New Orleans is a symbol of how the USA with all its institutions has forgotten and neglected black America. Critics of the Superbowl appearance found that Beyoncé had unduly politicized the sport. Some, like the former New York City Mayor Rudy Guiliani, believed that Beyoncé had called for violence against the police at the Superbowl, which was "a family event". Which, of course, Giuliani found completely inappropriate.